Photo ©2005 Michael Becker
Smooth Hawks Beard - Crepis capillaris
Family - Asteraceae
Growing to a height of up to 1m (3ft), Smooth Hawks Beard is a hairless annual or biennial of dry grassy places, grassland, roadsides waste ground, and can often be found in coastal sites. Native and common throughout the UK and Europe, it is an introduced and naturalized alien in other places and is regarded as a weed in some. With shiny leaves the lower ones are lobed, forming a basal rosette, stem leaves are smaller arrow-shaped and clasping.
Yellow rayed flowers of up to 60 petals are superficially similar to Dandelions but have two rows of bracts, the inner erect and the outer shorter and spreading. Occasionally with a reddish tinge beneath, the flowers are 15-25mm (0.6-1in) across in loose branched clusters that appear from May to September. Seed is set in July and August and germinate in the autumn, they over winter as a rosette of leaves then flower the next year in June and July. They are easily out competed by other vegetation and can be quickly lost from undisturbed sites.
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